Salon Spa Business

Professional Beauty – Nov/Dec 2009

Professional Beauty – Nov/Dec 2009

By Caroline Nelson

How to Build Salon/Spa teamwork Culture

Recently when I was delivering a seminar to a large group of salon and spa owners I mentioned the necessity of building a strong teamwork culture. One of the delegates in quite an abrupt manner said she was feed up with hearing about teamwork she only wanted to learn a fool-proof formula to get good staff and then to be able to keep them for the long term and not just for a few months. But from her attitude I could well understand how she might have trouble finding good employees and let alone retaining them.

Now no one has a fool-proof formula for every staff management issue but there certainly are ways and means we can adopt that will give us the best possible outcomes with finding and keeping the best employees. In fact from my experience good salon management often attracts good quality applicants. Because we are a small industry and many aestheticians know each other the word quickly gets around who are a good company’s to work for and who aren’t. So while finding the right employee is a given. Creating a work environment they want to stay working in is
also vitally important.

Having in past covered some of the best way to find good staff in this issue I am going to just concentrate on the methods of building strong salon or spa teamwork. And the benefits to you the business owner, your employees and your customers this will bring.

I know you realize that in a team-oriented environment everyone contributes to the overall success of the business. But what you may not know is that building an effective teamwork culture takes all kinds of skills and input from management all the way down to the most junior team member. From a management angle it requires the manager to have an understanding of human nature. To realize that we are not all alike – and what a boring world it would be if we were. Be able to show respect to every employee and to be able to communicate your directives or information well.
Being able to lead by example and inspiring and motivating the team as a whole. But your employees also must contribute in fact to be good team members they have to like working in a team. And this is not always the case with some diva employees who want to run their own race. This can be a problem that will need resolving before you ever get the team your business needs.

So while there is a wide variety of theories about how to develop a strong teamwork culture all agree there needs to be a strong leader. A leader who realizes their key role is one of coaching their members to achieve their best. Now the problem here is that while every salon or spa owner I ever talk to knows this, there are very few who take the time to do just that. Coach their team. And while there are many reasons why this doesn’t happen, by far the most common is the owner or manager is too busy treating their own clients doing the book work and all the other little things necessary to keep the business doors open.

In the busy life of a manager something often has to slip because there are just so many hours in a work day and most of us can’t stretch time any further. But you know you could easily liken this too many modern day family situations. From necessity most women hold down full time jobs run the home, care for the family and generally try to be a Super Mum. And, we all know what happens if they try keeping this up for too long? The kids who are often left to their own devises may become difficult to control stop doing their school homework and household chores and pick fights with each other. And you know without constant guidance this is just what happens to our employees. They act just the same as naughty children doing everything they can to gain the managers attention. So what I am saying is you will never have a good teamwork culture unless you invest the time into making it work.

So now assuming you realize this and you have decided that you will free up the time to spend developing your team just what come next in the process? Well first research tells us that team failure most often happens to teams who don’t really know where their going or even why they are heading that way. Don’t keep your employees in the dark be up front about where you want the business to go and what part you see them playing in the overall goal plan. If they clearly understand the Vision you have for the business its goals and the part they have to play you will be amazed how uplifting this can be for them. They now have a strong purpose because they now know the big Picture and that their role is very important. You will have a team with a shared purpose complementary skills and a commitment to reach its goals.

Now we all know that all work and no play makes for a very dull Jill. So be sure to realize that the best teams need to have a little fun ever now and then. They need to let off steam kick back and enjoy themselves. They should love coming to work. They should enjoy having a joke (clean one) with each other because a good laugh makes a working day much more pleasant. People who like each other always work well together.

Once people enjoy working together they will be happy to listen to the opinions and respect the feelings of each other. So as the leader you need to ensure that the work environment offers a safe and secure place for them to share and co-operate with each other. Everyone must be prepared to pitch in fill in for each other and share the workload because they understand that the work must be done and for the sake of the team.

If you have a good team on board, your business will be propelled quickly towards its goals but you must set very clear plans. For instance if you want to increase retail sales by 25% over the next three months you would need to set out a Action Plan to achieve this goal. Develop a flow chart setting out the steps the resources required, and list any training necessary. This will show the team how they will be able to achieve the 25% retail increase without being left to ‘muddle through’. The most effective teams require contributions from all members with specific performance expectations. By sharing roles each team member will be empowered inspired committed and motivated by the Action Plan.

There is an old saying that I think perfectly describes the successful team. TEAM means ‘Together Everyone Achieves More’. You might like to make this your team’s mantra. Your job as the manager, is to take each great individual aesthetician make them into a team that operates as one.

Where some salon and spa teamwork culture falls down is where the manager finds it hard to delegate. They want to be the one who makes all the decisions and therefore although they have all good intentions they gradually squeeze the spirit out of their team. For the team to survive and grow you must allow your team to be involved in problem-solving and decision-making – especially if the outcomes are likely to affect members. While you are the ultimate decision maker to keep your people committed they need to be accorded a balanced participation in the decision-making.

But ground rules must be set. And these rules apply to all from management down. Management must and should provide all the necessary tools for any projects undertaken by the team and to be available for any guidance and coaching. While team members must be prepared to commit to the self-discipline necessary to complete tasks to the expected high level and to be responsible for their own actions.

You will recall that in the beginning of this article I mentioned the salon owner who had a very aggressive staff management style. And the reason I bring this up again is that I believe that motivation comes down to two main driving forces. They are that people will either do things out of fear or love. The fear way of staff management has long had its day and if you try to control your employees by this you will be on the ever rolling wheel employing training and quickly losing staff. I suggest that your challenge is to inspire your team by creating a work environment they love working in. And not have a team who can’t wait till the end of the week so they can get out of there.

In this industry most salon or spa teams are relatively small in size but this doesn’t mean they can’t be highly focused and high energy teams who believe passionately in the work they do and the accomplishment they achieve. But remember you are the pivotal point in your team’s world and your high expectations and leading by example will encourage your team to reach new heights. And enjoy the journey along the way.

© Copyright Caroline Nelson 2009


Caroline Nelson is a beauty industry specific business coach and author of the Ignite Your Beauty Business For $uccess- Salon, Staff Policies Procedures & Systems manual.

To learn more about her step by-step program for salon spa success, and to sign up for her FREE e-Book "3 Top Salon Spa Money Making Secrets", visit: